Judo was derived from a martial art called Ju Jitsu (also
jiu jutsu or similar). Ju Jitsu is an art that involves too many physically damaging
techniques to become a healthy fighting sport - therefore, our founder - Jigoro
Kano took the main grappling aspects from Jitsu, made them much safer, and in
1882 formed the Kodokan Judo Institute.
Jigoro Kano 1860 - 1938
The first thing to learn if you are new to Judo, is how to fall.
Although it is practiced on mats, being thrown can be very dangerous.
To land safely, judoka use ukemi (breakfalls).
These are techniques that need to be learned, and as they rely on good coordination
and timing, must be practiced regularly.
The next step is to be shown several throws and hold downs.
The first throw will probably be a basic throw over the hip (ogoshi)
that will demonstrate the main principles of a throw - including supporting
your opponent. The hold down will show the basic methods of keeping someone
pinned - where to concentrate your bodyweight and how to move with an opponent.
Once these first few steps have been learned and understood, light
competition can begin. Light contest is the best way to ensure that
the techniques have been
taken in properly - and is the only way to get them right. From this point
Judo is all about practice and learning new things, skills will now
just keep getting
sharper. No-one will ever learn everything there is to know about Judo -
there will always be new things to try.
What most find a very good side of Judo is the standard of etiquette.
Experienced judoka usually
display the mannerisms and courtesy of the art in everyday life. Different
clubs display different levels of etiquette, however, respect
for instructors and other
judoka should never be compromised.
Bowing (rei wo suru) A standing bow
should be performed with the ankles together and the hands at the
flat against the front
of the thigh (where they can be seen). During a bow the head must not be
tilted back, it should stay in line with the back or be dipped lower
- you should
not be watching your opponent. A bow displays mutual trust and respect
(not just Judoka).
A groundwork bow is the same, only the hands must start on the thighs
and be placed flat on the mat, about knee width apart, pointing together
forty-five degrees. During any bow, the hands remain in view at all times
(traditionally to show that you are holding no weapons).
General rules of etiquette
An appropriate bow should be used:
On entering and leaving a dojo.
When stepping on or off the mat (tatami).
At the start and end of each training session.
Before and after any contest or training exercise.
When being presented with an award.
You should ask your sensei:
For permission to go on or off the mat.
To be excused from any exercise.
Footwear must be worn off the mat - usually zori or
flip-flops in the dojo.
Footwear must not be worn on the mat.
Finger and toenails should be kept short.
Judogi should be kept clean.
Contest Judo Fighting
There are no punches or kicks in contest Judo. Points are scored
in several ways - throws, hold downs, armlocks, strangles and penalties.
When a fight commences, the two players attempt to take hold (this itself
is now becoming an art form) and grappling commences. At this
point, a normal
fight will involve attempted throws, footsweeps and
occasionally armlocks and strangles.
As a result of a throw or attempted throw, the players may find
themselves on their knees, the fight is allowed to continue in groundwork (Newaza).
The aim of groundwork is to either pin your opponent on their back (a hold
down), or to apply an armlock or strangle. Groundwork will
only continue whilst one player has a clear advantage, or
until one player gets back to their feet.
Some associations require the standing player to lift the other completely from
the mat in order to halt groundwork.
Contests last between three and five minutes, depending on age and
sex, or until an ippon is scored.
These descriptions are general guidelines. There are more factors
to be taken into account and definitions vary between associations.
Koka - 3 points
A knock-down throw in which the thrown player lands on his side.
A fifteen second hold down (five seconds for juniors).
A penalty judgment (shido)
- for a single offense.
Yuko - 5 points
A throw in which the thrown player lands on one side of his back.
A twenty second hold down (ten seconds for juniors).
A second penalty judgment (chui).
Wazari - 7 points
A throw in which the thrown player lands almost flat on their back, or
they landed cleanly after an interrupted (not continuous) throw.
A twenty-five second hold down (fifteen seconds for juniors).
A third penalty judgment (keikoku).
Ippon - 10 points
A continuous, clean throw in which the
thrown players both shoulders and back touch the mat at the same time.
A thirty second hold down (twenty seconds for juniors).
Submission - from an armlock, strangle or
retirement from injury.
Disqualification (hansoku) - for a fourth penalty judgment
or serious breach of the rules.
Some associations do not consider the continuity
of a throw - only the landing.
Sometimes, it is acceptable to land your opponent badly but still
score highly by rolling them into a better position - provided
that the action is continuous.
Although points are awarded for scores, they do not always
decide the outcome of a contest. One yuko will
win over three kokas.
Points are used to decide in the event of a draw, and are used for rating
a players performance.
An ippon score wins a contest outright.
Similarly, a second wazari score from
a player produces wazari-aweseti-ippon -
another contest winning ten points score.
Chui - a five point penalty.
Dojo - the building or room where
Judo is practiced.
Hajime - begin. Called at the start
of a contest.
Hansoku - a disqualification.
Ippon - a ten points score
(equivalent to knockout).
Judogi - the Judo suit
Judoka - a practitioner
Ju Jitsu - the martial
art that Judo was derived from. Meaning soft art
soft, jitsu - art).
Kansetsuwaza - armlocks
(literal translation means the manipulation of joints).
Kata - demonstrative
display of moves and techniques performed in a sequence.
means 'shoulder' when used in naming techniques.
Keikoku - a seven point
Koka - a three points
Matte - stop. Called
to end a contest.
Newaza - groundwork.
Ogoshi - major hip throw.
Often the first throw to be learned by a judoka.
Rei wo suru or rei -
Sensei - teacher. Respectful
name for instructors.
Shido - a three point
Shimewaza - strangles.
Sonomama - freeze (often
used to check safety or legality of techniques).
Important to understand for safety reasons.
Soremade - time is up
(that is all). Usually called by timekeepers, or
instructors at the end of a session.
Tatami - the mat used
Ukemi - breakfalls.
Literally means 'falling way'.
Wazari - a seven points
a ten points score resulting from a second wazari.
Yoshi - continue, carry
on (called after an interruption in a contest).
Yuko - a five points
Zori - straw sandals
used by judoka.
English words or terminology
Armlock - to apply pressure
to a joint (usually the elbow) against its natural
Breakfalls - the techniques
used to land safely.
Footsweep - an action
that sweeps an opponents feet in an attempt to make
Groundwork - the grappling
that takes place when two players go to ground. Practiced
from the knees.
Hold down - to pin an
opponent. (To achieve a hold down, control must be
gained of at
least one arm, and at least one shoulder must be
in contact with the mat.)
Penalties - these are
scored against a player who breaches a rule (see shido, chui, keikoku and hansoku).
Sacrifice throw - a
throw that involves a player dropping to their own
side) to execute.
Strangle - the art of
blocking the supply of blood and/or air through the
Support - the act of
landing your opponent safely (usually involves keeping
of an arm).